An Angel series win over the Rangers in which the Halos keep their playoff hopes alive… barely.
Game 1 – Angels 9, Rangers 7
Game 2 – Rangers 2, Angels 1
Game 3 – Angels 4, Rangers 1
Los Angeles Angels of AWESOMENESS
- For anyone who still thinks the Angels have a shot at overcoming the imposing nine-game deficit to the Rangers that they started this series with, this weekend certainly must have kept that hope alive. Everyone was hoping for a series sweep, of course, but at at least the Angels were able to pick up a game on Texas to remind them that the Angels shall not go quiet into that good night. With seven games remaining between these two foes, that has to count for something.
- For the rest of us who assumed the Angel season was over before this series even began, you can thank Juan Rivera for the Angels defying logic and not becoming sellers at the trade deadline. With the Angels down 5-0 early in the first game of the series, the Angels were poised to be dealt a crushing blow that might very well have convinced Tony Reagins to go into fire sale mode. Instead, Rivera clubbed a three-run shot to ignite a rally for a huge win that showed that this roster still has plenty of heart and spirit left in them, thus putting said fire sale on hold. It’s about time that Rivera finally did something good.
- In Weaver vs. Lee II, this time Jered emerges the victor. Playoff race or no, I sure could get used to watching those two aces do battle against each other every week. Too bad my cable provider dropped KCOP though meaning I actually couldn’t watch the game. Lame.
- Hopefully that Angels helped themselves out a bit this series by hastening the return to earth of Ranger pitching phenom Tommy Hunter who had heretofore lucked into an 8-0 record before the Angels rocked his world to hand him his first loss of the season. Angel fans can only hope that this sends Hunter into some sort of downward spiral to weaken a Texas rotation that somehow just keeps getting stronger.
- Fernando Rodney was able to pitch two scoreless innings in this series while striking out two batters and allowing just one hit and no walks. Better yet, he threw a total of 25 pitches and only 6 of them were called as balls which very much suggests that he is getting a handle on his recent command issues (I really hope I didn’t just jinx it).
Los Angeles Angels of FAIL
- Dan Haren’s bad luck as an Angel continues into his second start. For all but one pitch on Saturday, Haren was brilliant and in total control of the Ranger lineup. But that one bad pitch got taken deep by Vladimir Guerrero (Curse of the Vlad-bino?) to give the Rangers their only two runs of the game and the win because the Halos offense fell flat once again.
- And the reason it fell flat was because Texas essentially made another deadline trade by getting Rich “The Angel Killer” Harden off of the disabled list just in time to avoid a sweep by the Angels. Harden has had a rough season, but he was pretty much toying with the Angels on Saturday. His sinker once again gave the Angels fits as they went after the pitch early and often, allowing Harden to breeze through seven innings of work on just 88 pitches. Harden never needed more than five pitches for a single at-bat, going that distance just four times (and two of those times were Abreu). Compare that to the seven one-pitch at-bats Harden induced and it is easy to see how the Halos were only able to scratch one run off of him.
- What is going on with these lineups? I know Mike Scioscia is grasping at straws for run producers, but I really don’t like having Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli hitting 8th and 9th behind Callaspo and Kendrick. It seems pretty clear that Sosh is trying to get back to a more small-ball, situational hitting offensive attack, but this new batting order seems highly flawed. Then again, the previous arrangement wasn’t exactly putting the fear of God into opposing pitchers.
- I would love to have Mike Scioscia explain to me why Trevor Bell pitched the seventh inning of Friday’s game instead. I am guessing that Sosh wanted to avoid overworking Jepsen or Rodriguez as both had worked in the previous series, but Jepsen was on two days of rest and the Angels had only a two-run lead, so he should’ve been in there unless he is maybe hurt or somehow in the doghouse. And even if he was either of those things, why Bell? Am I the only one who remembers that he got lit up by Texas the week before? I know it ended up working out, but that doesn’t make it any less of a curious decision.
- How are we ever going to convince Mike Scioscia to stop playing Jeff Mathis with the defensive effort put forth by Mike Napoli and Bobby Wilson. Naps only caught one of five attempted base stealers and Wilson allowed two more swipes in his lone start. Add to that the wild pitch that Napoli allowed in each of his starts behind the dish and I think we are once again going to have to suffer a lot of Mathis once he gets healthy again. Ugh.
Halo Hero of the Series
You have to give it up for Jered Weaver who went out and did exactly what aces do- delivering a big win. After a demoralizing loss the night before, the Angels desperately needed to win on Sunday to salvage the series victory over Texas and get that one game back. If they had lost the game instead, I really don’t know how they could have kept their heads high for the rest of the season. But, sure enough, Weaver went out there and mowed the Rangers down to win the rubber match and keep the Angel playoff hopes on life support for at least a little while longer.